Tanzania: 2019 Experienced Record-Breaking Rainfall

THE year 2019 experienced higher amounts of rainfall, the fourth in historical records since 1970, according to the Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA).

This was revealed yesterday as the TMA released a report on the status of the country's climate for 2019.

The country also recorded an annual mean temperature of 23.8 °C, which is 0.8 °C warmer than the long-term average, again ranked fourth highest on record since 1970.

TMA Director General Dr Agnes Kijazi said that the average annual rainfall recorded last year was 1283.5 mm, which is equivalent to 125 per cent of the long-term (1981-2010) average and higher than long-term average rainfall by 256.5 mm.

Dr Kijazi said that most parts of the country received above normal rainfall during October-December (vuli) rain season in 2019, ranking it the second wettest Vuli on record since 1970.

She added that October was recorded as the wettest month in the year but also wettest ever since 1970, while rainfall in March - May (long rains) 2019 was normal.

Dr Kijazi said March and April, 2019 were the warmest months of the year with country mean temperature higher than long-term average by 1.1 °C and 1.6 °C respectively.

On the status of climate condition, she said, since 1970 there were thirteen (13) events of above normal vuli rainfall and only four (4) events of above normal masika rainfall and the year 2003 was the driest year on record since 1970.

She said the year 2003 was the driest year on record since 1970 adding that above normal and record-breaking rainfall have been observed often during years of the strongest El Niño events (example; 1982 and 1997) and years with strong Indian Ocean Dipole (example;1997 and 2006).

Dr Kijazi noted that, from 2011 to 2019, many severe weather events with heavy rainfall were observed in February, April and May for masika season and October and December for vuli season and during December, January and February for areas receiving msimu season.

On temperature trends, Dr Kijazi said, over the last two decades (from 1995), the country has experienced an increasing trend in temperature with minimum temperatures (night temperatures) warming more than maximum temperatures (day-time temperatures).

"On average a large number of higher daily maximum temperature events exceeding 35 °C were recorded in January, February and March, mostly over the Northern Coast and North-Eastern Highlands," she said.

Dr Kijazi noted that the statement on the status of Tanzania climate provides information on the current status of climate, extreme climatic events and their associated impacts with the goal of enhancing awareness and understanding of climate variability and change among stakeholders.

It provides analysis of weather and climate events that occurred over different parts of the country by placing them into historical perspectives, said the TMA director general.

According to Dr Kijazi it was important for all sectors that are planning for economic benefits of the country to consider the information issued by her Authority in their planning for betterment of the nation.

"This statement is crucial for economic and social sectors because it can be used in planning for sustainable development such as construction of infrastructure or identifying areas for construction of industries by ensuring that they are not affected by severe weather," Dr Kijazi added.

She said weather changes experienced in the country were mainly contributed by global changes in weather systems and some local factors.

Meanwhile, TMA said that Dar es Salaam, Morogoro and Coast regions which were expected to receive normal and below normal rains as indicated in the weather forecast for March - May rainfall season are currently expected to receive normal and above normal rains.

The situation is due to changes in weather systems especially in the Indian Ocean and part of areas in Congo forest, noted Dr Kijazi.

"This situation will bring huge changes in Dar es Salam, Coast Region and northern areas of Morogoro region instead of receiving normal and below normal rains, the areas are expected to receive normal and above normal rains," she said.

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